Red Sox Owners Hear Players' Gripes With Valentine In July Meeting
Red Sox players "blasted manager Bobby Valentine to owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino during a heated meeting called after a text message was sent by a group of frustrated players to the team and ownership in late July," according to sources cited by Jeff Passan of YAHOO SPORTS. Team owners "called the meeting for Boston's off-day in New York on July 26 after first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, texting on behalf of himself and some teammates, aired their dissatisfaction with Valentine for embarrassing starting pitcher Jon Lester by leaving him in to allow 11 runs during a July 22 start." Sources said that Gonzalez and 2B Dustin Pedroia "were among the most vocal in the meeting, in which some players stated flatly they no longer wanted to play for Valentine." Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said, "The intent of the meeting was to provide a forum for people to express whatever frustration needed to be expressed at a time during the season when things were not going exactly the way we wanted." Passan reported Red Sox ownership "remains in Valentine's corner" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/14). In Boston, Nick Cafardo notes Pedroia "took exception" to the Yahoo report and "how his involvement was portrayed." Pedroia: "The one thing I said when I stood up and said to everyone in the room, I said, “You (owners), the players, the manager, the coaches, are having a terrible season and we have to step it up and turn it around. That’s blasting the manager? Are you kidding?" He added, “We have no idea where this stuff comes from. I just hope it’s not one of our teammates spreading stuff like that." Cafardo notes Valentine "was stunned by the report" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/15). Valentine, when asked about the Yahoo report, said, "Wow. Is that what was said really? That’s what Dustin and Adrian said? It did say that? I didn’t hear that. I’m glad that July is over because they’re still playing for me" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 8/15).
TIME TO GO? In Boston, Christopher Gasper writes the Red Sox "have to remove Bobby Valentine as manager, for his own dignity, as well as the team's." Gasper: "It's over. End the charade now. ... Mutiny on the Bobby is the last straw." The bottom-line evaluation of a manager is "whether he is capable of getting the most out of his players." Valentine "will never do that here, not as long as those players are empowered to go behind his back and complain about him to ownership, publicly challenge him in the media and have the general manger side with them, and otherwise belittle him with impunity." This "debacle is on ownership, upper management, and baseball operations." Previous votes of confidence in Valentine from Henry and Cherington "are meaningless now." Gasper: "How can you back Valentine publicly when you privately invited players to bad-mouth him?" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/15). Also in Boston, John Tomase writes one of the "biggest gripes players have with Valentine is not just legitimate, but something that’s no one’s fault but his own. His mouth." Valentine "has consistently undermined his own clubhouse standing by making pointless public proclamations that have served only to alienate the players he was hired to lead" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/15). In N.Y., Roger Rubin writes, "Valentine's courtship and tenure with the Red Sox has been stormy" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/15). SPORTING NEWS' Anthony Witrado wrote, "This was never, ever going to work." The "only people who believed hiring Bobby Valentine to head the Boston Red Sox was a good idea was ownership" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/14). In N.Y., Don Burke writes, "Call it an attempted mutiny by social media" (N.Y. POST, 8/15).
PAYING TRIBUTE: In Providence, Tim Britton notes the Red Sox for the rest of the season "will honor Johnny Pesky with a black armband on their gray road uniforms and a white '6' in a black circle on the sleeve of their other three jerseys" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 8/15).